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Kumihimo basics: Kongoh gumi on the marudai - Setup

Photo a
Photo b


1. Cut four cords to the length specified in your pattern. Center the cords in a 10 mm or larger split ring, and tie an overhand knot to secure the cords to the ring (photo a). This creates the eight cords for your kongoh gumi braid.

2. Feed the ring through the center hole of the marudai, slide a chopstick through the split ring, and tape the chopstick to the underside of the mirror (photo b). Arrange the cords around the mirror, placing two at the top (north), two at the bottom (south), and two on each side (east and west).

Photo c
Photo d

3. Using a Big-Eye needle, string each cord with beads as indicated in the pattern you are going to follow. See “Stringing beads” for more guidance on bead stringing.

4. After stringing, tie a tama loop at the end of each cord, and attach a tama:

• About 3 in. (7.6 cm) from the end of the cord, make a fold. With the folded end, make a loop. Pass the folded
end through the loop, and pull tight (photo c). This loop should be pretty small, but the size isn’t critical.

• Next, pass the working cord through the loop, making a large slip knot (photo d). Insert the tama or bobbin into the new loop, and pull snug.

Photo e
Photo f

• Begin wrapping the cord onto the tama, winding about half of the beads onto the tama as you go. Push the remaining beads up onto the mirror. Stop winding when you have about 6 in. (15 cm) of cord between the tama and the bottom edge of the mirror. Make a slipping hitch: With the working cord coming from the bottom of the tama, grasp the middle of the cord with your dominant hand palm down (photo e). Flip your hand over, wrapping the cord around your fingers to form a loop (photo f). Slip the loop over the tama (photo g), and tighten the cord. Photo h shows the finished slipping hitch.

Photo g
Photo h
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